The Week In Science: Winds On Uranus, Nasty Public Pools, Melting Mt. Everest

on May 18 2013 8:45 AM
Swimming In A Pool
E.coli, a sign of fecal contamination, was found in nearly 60 percent of samples taken from Atlanta public pools. Flickr/Creative Commons/brownpau

Science news this week has been one of highs and lows: Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut that won the hearts of millions through his Twitter feed and David Bowie cover video, returned to Earth; world-famous actress Angelina Jolie revealed that she has had a preventative double mastectomy after finding out she has a high genetic risk for breast cancer; and NASA scientists are working to see if they can save the malfunctioning Kepler spacecraft.

But there was lots of other news too! Here’s a roundup of the stuff we didn’t get to:

No jokes, please -- scientists are very concerned about the violent winds roaring across Uranus. And Neptune. Researchers have now found that the violent winds, which can reach up to 560 miles per hour on Uranus and 1,500 miles per hour on Neptune, are limited to relatively thin layers of atmosphere just 600 miles deep. (Space.com)

If hot weather is driving you crazy, be wary where you swim. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently tested 161 samples from public pools and found that nearly 60 percent of them contained traces of fecal contamination. (U.S. News & World Report)

The “crazy” ant, an invasive species from South America, is replacing the fire ant in the American Southwest, and residents are starting to miss the fire ants. Whereas fire ants generally stick to nesting outside, crazy ants will invade your home and nest in your wall. (LiveScience)

The melting of glaciers has contributed to about a third of sea level rise between 2003 and 2009, according to a new study. (NBC News)

Eat more bugs, the United Nations says: Insects are a nutritious and sustainable alternative to more familiar sources of meat. The upcoming cicada emergence should prove to be a smorgasbord if you’re adventurous enough. (We covered a study extolling the value of a wormburger back in December.) (Washington Post)

Rocks inside a Canadian mine contain water that’s more than 1 billion years old. Researchers think the water could also house microbes that don’t need the sun to survive, feeding instead on the chemical products of water interacting with rock. (National Geographic)

Climate change is divesting Mount Everest of its snowy coat. The planet’s highest mountain lost 13 percent of its snow coverage over the past 50 years, scientists say. (Los Angeles Times)

Fossils in Tanzania appear to be the oldest known specimens of apes, a primate group that includes humans and chimpanzees, and the Old World monkeys, a group that includes macaques and baboons. The find may lead to the discovery of just when the apes and monkeys diverged from a common ancestor. (Scientific American)

NASA captured video of the brightest explosion yet observed on the Moon:

This “lunar burst” was caused by a boulder-size meteorite slamming into the Moon’s surface and created a blast that could be seen from Earth with the naked eye. Scientists think the meteorite could have made a crater 65 feet wide. (Wired)

Stumped in calculus class? A new study has found that minor electric shocks to the brain could improve your math skills. (Nature)

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